Saturday, December 16, 2017

Recipes Round #2

#1: Pesto Chicken Bruschetta Wraps

2 T pre-made (or homemade) pesto
1 Rotisserie chicken
1/4 cup mayo
A drizzle of balsamic glaze, to your taste (or a splash of balsamic vinegar)
2 diced tomatoes
1/2 grated onion
Favorite type of lettuce
4-6 wraps or tortillas

Mix pesto, mayo and chicken together in a bowl. Mix balsamic, onion and tomato in separate bowl. Place a few spoonfuls of chicken on a wrap, top with bruschetta, add some lettuce and roll like a burrito. For extra deliciousness, add another drizzle of balsamic glaze

#2: Swimming Rama

2 chicken breasts, diced
2 T coconut oil
1 bag pre-washed spinach
1 cup brown rice, cooked

1/4 cup peanut butter (natural is best)
2 T rice vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1 T pure maple syrup (NOT PANCAKE SYRUP)
1 t ginger paste
warm water (as needed)
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)

Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl, adding a tablespoon of warm water at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Set aside. Cook chicken in a skillet in the coconut oil. When cooked through, add in spinach until wilted. Add sauce to skillet and cook until heated through. Serve over rice.

#3 Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

1T Olive Oil 
1 diced onion
2 cloves garlic
1 T ginger paste
1/2 T ground tumeric
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 C red lentils
4 C chicken broth
1 can coconut milk

Saute onion, garlic and ginger until onions are soft. Add carrots and saute for another minute or so. Add turmeric and lentils. Stir. Add chicken broth. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until lentils are soft and carrots are fork tender. Add coconut milk. Blend, in small batches, carefully. Hot soup+blender can equal disaster.

For extra deliciousness: Buy and remove chicken from a rotisserie chicken. Place 4-5 cups of chicken broth in pot and add in the bones and leftovers from the rotisserie chicken. Add in some thyme. Boil for 20 minutes. Drain liquid from bones. Use extra delicious broth in place of mediocre store bought broth. 

#4: Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Goddess Dressing 

#5: Favorite Turkey Meatloaf

#6: Honey Garlic Chicken

Made at least twice a month--my go to "people are coming over" dinner.

#7: Potstickers w/ Roasted Cabbage or Brussel Sprouts

1 bag pre-made potstickers
1 head green cabbage 
2 T olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400. Cut cabbage into medium-thick slices and place on greased cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Rub into cabbage grooves. Sprinkle liberally with S&P. Roast until fork tender and starting to brown  (30-40 minutes). Make potstickers according to package. 

#8: Lentil Chili

#9: BBQ Shepard's Pie

1 lb ground turkey
1 bag frozen veggie medley (peas, corn, carrots)
1 cup (about) BBQ sauce
2 sweet potatoes
2 T butter
1/2 cup greek yogurt
Shredded cheddar (optional)
Servings: 4

(increase amounts based on desired yield...2 lbs meat, 3 sweet potatoes, etc.)

Boil potatoes. Brown turkey and pour in veggie medley. Cook until thawed. Add BBQ sauce. When potatoes are fork tender, drain and let cook for a couple minutes. Remove skins. Mash potatoes with butter and greek yogurt. Place meat mixture (ew, gross term) in a small casserole dish and top with potatoes. Eat! (If you want to add cheese, top with desired amount and then bake in a 350 oven until melted and golden).

#10: Fish Tacos

1 box fish sticks
1 tub pre-made pico de gallo (or make some yourself!)
1/4 cup mayo
1 lime
Corn tortillas

Self explanatory.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Double Digits

-getting more confident with walking
-crawling around now (one foot, one knee)
-likes to pull ALL items off ALL shelves
-broke out the "big kid" stroller
-learned how to open and close doors, turn pages, open drawers, etc.
-went down to one nap a day (and sometimes a second one, in the car)
-saw Santa for the first time!
-celebrated his first Thanksgiving :)
-loves being tickled
-^ most ticklish are his feet and neck/collarbone/shoulder area
-singing calms him down
-likes to sit in your lap and bounce on the exercise ball
-so happy, giggly, and interactive these days

When the Santa you see is free, you get no pretty winter wonderland backdrop. 

Little brother started to walk at 9 months! He started with just a few tentative steps between Kyle and I--and then would just trust fall into us. Don't worry, we caught him. He can now walk wherever he wants. He has walked the length of the living room, from the bedroom to the living room, etc. But, he is still cautious. Reckless abandon and thrill seeking just are not a part of who Ezra is. He tends to only walk when there is someone there he can walk to/can be close in case he gets scared walking to an item of furniture. Since he started to walk and figured out crawling in the same week, more or less, he defers to crawling more often than not. We are fine with that. We are not in a rush with the walking thing--church is already getting harder week by week!

In his personal heaven--a stuffed animal bin at Walmart. He lost one of his little booties later in the store :( 


One thing I don't want to forget about this age is that he hasn't learned how to run away, but still likes to be "chased." I'll say "Im gonna get you" in a monster voice and he turns away from me, and then turns back and lunges towards me, and then brings his hands to cover his face and then hunches his shoulder into a little ball in this flurry of pure joy and giggles. He gets so excited to play this game, even though he doesn't understand it yet. He just loves the pure unadulterated attention interactions like this bring.

He does this singular note laugh all day, every time anyone talks to him and it is the cutest thing. It is just one little laugh-note, not a full blown giggle. It's the greatest. Kyle will bring him out of his crib in the morning and say "Look! It's Ma!" *laugh note* I'll be making dinner and look over at him and say "Hi!" *laugh note* Kyle will smile at him from the stand during church *laugh note* You squeak a toy *laugh note*

First Christmas tree as a family of tres

A little narcissistic; he really likes looking at his reflection in the oven door. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Nine Months

Weight: 18 lbs (15th percentile)
Height: 29 inches (51th percentile)
Diaper: Size 3
Clothes:6-9 months, 9 months

Developmental Milestones:
-stands on all of the things 
-pulls himself to standing
-goes from sitting to hands and knees and back to sitting
-realized he could roll over in his crib
-^stomach sleeps now, occasionally
-scoots all around, army crawl style
-has taken a few balanced, unassisted steps
-can bring himself from laying down to sitting up
-walks around with assistance from his walker toy
-went from three naps to two

-gives kisses!
-started to squint his eyes, scrunch his nose and stick out his tongue when he smiles
-mimics our vocal patterns
-continued improvement feeding himself
-excited, crazy face and noise

-smiles at everyone, much more social this month
-likes to show off (but on his own terms)
-loves to play in the closet and in the bathroom
-enjoys picking at all types of carpet, fuzziness, cloth and fur (with one finger only, of course)
-likes dad's baseball hats
-continues to wiggle his life away
-wants mama all the day long

-eating any and everything 
-any type of meat
-puffs and dehydrated yogurt drops
-stuffed animals
-playing with shoes
-squeaky toys (thinks they are hilarious)
-any mounted wall picture
-animal noises 
-the binky
-his fuzzy blankie

-plain pasta noodles and hummus
-being alone
-falling down
-feeling forced to do something (will refuse if pressured) 
-hats being put on his head
-being laid down to have his diaper or clothes changed right after you pick him up from a nap
-when you leave the room while he's watching
-missing his morning nap

-first, very lame, pumpkin patch experience 
-first Halloween!
-first time watching Dad in a college basketball game*
-first "owie" (rug burn on his forehead after falling down)

I have tried to write down just all the things I can about Ezra each month, but I can't ever seem to get it all down. He is SO FUN AND SO CUTE. I just want everyone to spend a whole day with him so they can get the full measure of his personality. A very favorite thing about him is that when he gets excited, it is like his body can't contain it. He shrugs his shoulders up and extends his arms straight. He clenches his fists as tight as he can. Then, he cocks his little head to the side and holds his breath while making the cutest, funniest "crazy face" and exhaling this snort noise. He started doing it when he would eat solids a couple months back, but this month it has leaked over into other activities as well. Apparently, there is just so much more to get excited about at 9 months of life than there was previously.

Auntie Mel and Uncle Braxton's wedding!

Ezra dropped a nap this month, but it has been a great transition, actually! He had been napping three times a day for an hour-hour and a half each nap. Now, he naps from about 10-12/1 in the morning and then another shorter nap at about 3. Having a two or three hour chunk of time has been great for both of us. He is happier and I am able to get more done with school. 

Kyle and I moved our bed out into the dining room, as an official "resting place" (ha) for us. Ezra sleeps SO MUCH BETTER when we aren't in the room with him. Since our apartment only has one bedroom, the dining room it is! He is still waking up once a night to nurse, but goes back to sleep immediately. Right now his schedule is: bedtime 630-7pm, sleep until 3/4am, nurse, back to sleep until around 7-730 ish. Then nursing and morning cuddles in the bed of course. I'LL TAKE IT!! Plus, if I'm being honest, most mornings also involve me going back to the bedroom and sleeping for another hour on the recliner while Kyle feeds Ezra breakfast. What a good husband I have. 

Cruel experience has taught me that this nice groove we've found will change in about 2 days, but i'll take it while I can :)

Trying to fein pumpkin patch enjoyment at a very disappointing pumpkin patch

Mike Wazowski, Halloween 2017

The blind strings, the best toy

The season opener this year was in the Carrier Dome against Syracuse. I couldn't have asked for a better "first college game" experience for Ezra. The Carrier Dome!? SWEET. He seriously l-o-v-e-d it. The game started AT bedtime, and is an hour and a half away from home, so I was worried that the travel and start time would lead to one grouchy baby. But, I couldn't have been more wrong. He slept in the car on the way down, like an angel. He braved the frigid cold walk to the stadium, like an angel. He sat wide eyed at all the lights, sounds and people, like an angel. He was happy and observant, like an angel. He gave grandma Meri kisses, like an angel. He nursed amidst all the distractions, like an angel. He flirted with cheerleaders and coaxed them to hand over their pom-poms, like an angel. Then he fell asleep in the carrier on the frigid walk back to the car, slept the whole way home, and went back down in his crib no problem, LIKE AN ANGEL. I couldn't have asked for a more well behaved baby. It was such a great first experience!! 


I realize that not all games this season will likely go like that, but I think when I look back on bringing my baby boy to his dad's basketball games, last night is the memory that will come to mind. It was a happy happy night.

I couldn't resist....

Sunday, October 15, 2017


-REALLY wants to move
-sleeping better at night (but not consistently through the night)
-had his second bout of sickness (Roseola)
-is focused
-has amazing concentration
-great dexterity, picks up food with just two fingers
-eating like a grown man
-went through a growth spurt, we think
-no sign of teeth, yet
-rolling like a pill bug in all directions
-wants to do all activities while standing, but can't stand unassisted yet
-trying to scoot
-started to babble! Says "dada" "mama" "baba" and with the occasional y, n, r, or h sound thrown in
-went to college
-stayed in a hotel for 1st time
-saw the ocean for 1st time
-went on a road trip 1st time
-no more swaddle
-likes to study your face/look deep into your eyes while being held or while being carried in the carrier
-started to recognize he can do things specifically to get attention/make people smile and laugh
-will do things specifically to ^
-likes to read books
-likes to people watch
-tends to be very quiet when other people are around, unless they are in our house (and even then)
-gives kisses
-nursing every 4 hours still
-makes a hilarious "crazy face"
-clingy this month, especially after nap time
-if you are sitting near him while he's playing, he wants to play with whatever it is while in your lap/arms i.e. how dare you not hold him if you are not occupied with a different task
-is okay playing alone if, and only if, he can see me doing something else that seems important (making dinner and cleaning are what fall into this category)
- "I want you to add: his dad loves him more and more every day" -Kyle
-loves to be outside
-loves to eat the car keys and remotes
-his favorite toys (that is actually his and not an adult object) are: chick-fi-a santa cow and a plush little star. Basically, any peluche (stuffed animal)

Ezra is getting ANTSY to move. He really wants to be more mobile than he is currently, but hasn't quite figured out the mechanics. When he is laying next to you on the bed he wants to crawl over your body again and again. He tries to climb when you hold him while sitting down. He wants to be held, but then flails and flings himself about. He is rolling like an old pro now from both back to tummy and tummy to back. He is doing better holding himself up on hands and knees, but eventually will fall to his side. He will go from sitting to hands and knees, but the forward momentum makes him fall forward onto his face. There is this one scoot type thing that seems to be his go to right now where he will roll himself onto his stomach, but not pull his arm out from under him, and then push his bum up in the air and scootch (sp?) his face and pinned arm side against the carpet until he inches forward. He has gotten better at this scoot attempt over the month and can move small distances in this manner. 

favorite jammies. 

Ezra attended his first college class. His first college class at an IvyLeague institution? Not to shabby. Kyle took him with him to class one afternoon so that I could get some studying done. The teacher even picked him up to walk him around the classroom at one point. He didn't mind until the teacher took him into a different room (apparently this classroom has multiple rooms?) and he couldn't see Kyle anymore--then he started to wail, until Kyle came and rescued him of course.

waiting for the bus on their way home

I know as a mother I think certain things are more amazing than other people, but I really do think he is so brilliant! It is so neat to watch him figure things out. For example, he will see a loose thread on a shirt and just lock onto it. Very focused. And then with just his thumb and finger he will reach forward and grasp at it until he can get it. He will find the tiny spec of dirt amongst all his toys on the ground and lock in on just that.

so pensive

Ezra can feed himself! He feeds himself most of his meals each day. We still feed him baby food (purees) by spoon, but he feeds himself the rest. He has eaten everything we've given him without complaint--except for those first bites of rice cereal, of course, he hated those. His favorite foods so far are greek yogurt and pears. This month has been amazing for me to watch this skill develop. He gets better every single day and I think it's remarkable. At the beginning of his 7th month he could barely pick food up and couldn't get it to his mouth unless it was by accident. As these weeks have progressed I've watched him figure something new out each day and refine his skills and it's the best part of being a parent.

A little comparison.....

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sleep Saga

9/16/2017--Night #1: The past three months have been hhaaaarrrrdddd in the nighttime department. I felt like we had tried everything and it just wasn't working. I prayed and prayed that Ezra would just start sleeping already!! I prayed that we would know what to do to help him. We went through peaks and valleys, some nights better, some nights worse. But, I hadn't yet been willing to just let him cry it out during the night time. We had let him cry when we were working on bedtime/naps, but not during the night. {Let the record reflect that he goes down to bed and naps easily, no fuss and has ever since we let him CIO.} You can read in the seven month post where I said I was just unwilling to do that because we shared a room and we need to sleep!!! Plus, it's so sad. I want to comfort my baby when he is hysterically crying. It is good to feel needed.

But then, literal hours after posting his seven month update, I had a moment of clarity. We had put him to bed at seven, like usual. At 10, he started to whimper and wake up. I went in and as I was nursing him I just had this readiness distill upon my soul! I laid him back down, walked out into the living room and said "Tonight's the night." Kyle, knowing exactly what I was referring to, said "Alright. What are we gonna do?" I went in and took him out of his swaddle. Swaddle retired. We cleared our living room floor and brought our mattress to the living room. I went to the store and bought earplugs. We shut both doors between our bedroom and the living room and turned on the oven vent fan--and we let him cry. *note: he was asleep and not actually crying when we went to sleep*

Maybe the answer to my months long prayers wasn't him magically sleeping through the night, but rather the Lord strengthened my resolve to be able to bear it. So last night was the first of our last ditch effort. If this doesn't work than I LITERALLY HAVE NOTHING LEFT TO TRY and will probably perish a sleep deprived shell of a person. Okay, that's a bit dramatic....

I can't tell you how last night went because my earplugs blocked out all the noise amazingly well. This does not mean I slept well ("IS MY BABY OKAY!?"), but I didn't hear a thing. Kyle got up to go in and give him his binky/check on him twice--once at about 1:30 and once at 4 am. I woke up and went back to check on him at 3 am. He was asleep during my check and asleep when we went to bed at 11:00. So, my best guess is that he slept from about 10:30-1:30, 2-4, 4-630 with wake up and cry intervals in between. I went in to get him at 7 am and he greeted me happy as always. He was not forlorn and did not act betrayed. He was hungry though! He also woke up with most of his voice gone. This had been happening over the last couple days so I don't think it was a result of crying away his voice, but what a sad thought :( He slept for 3.5 hours for his nap this morning. That tells me he definitely did not sleep as well or as much as normal, since his morning nap is normally 1.5-2 hours.

Thoughts so far: Ezra did so well un-swaddled! I think he was really ready for that. When he nurses/gets drowsy he reaches up and holds onto his hair/rubs his ears/scratches his head. As soon as I took his swaddle off (he was mostly asleep when I did this) he just reached his little hands up to his head. Let's see what night #2 brings.

9/17/2017--Night #2: Whew. Two nights down. So far, progress. Last night we kept the oven fan off and either of us heard him cry at all. Granted there is a room, hallway and two shut doors between us. He has also lost 70% of his voice so he might've cried and we just didn't hear him. Kyle set an alarm for 2 am to go check on him, in case he never woke up us crying. During the 2 am check he was snoozin' away. We put him to sleep at 6:45 pm and he woke up around 7:20 am. Again, I'm not sure he actually slept for all that time, but YAY!!!! Definite progress has been made, even if that progress is just the recognition by him "I don't need to eat at night" and me "I don't need to feed him at night" !!

In the morning Kyle said "I just don't want him to remember this and feel like we've abandoned him for the rest of his life." Is there any parent in the world who hasn't felt this way while leaving their firstborn alone all night!? Making parenting decisions is hard, mostly because you never really know  whether or not the decision you are making is the correct one. However, Kyle also said this morning "I haven't woken up so quickly on a Sunday morning in a long time. I turned my alarm off immediately and just got out of bed. 'Im so rested!" This is ridiculous, but writing that sentence made me feel a little emotional. I never realized how important sleep was and I just value it so much more now. I feel so genuinely happy when I hear others slept well. I want to hug and sincerely congratulate them. Graduations, weddings, baptisms, births of children and getting a good nights sleep are all part of my "I feel such genuine joy for you" list.

Thoughts: Pretty sure I could feed a village of infants after going 12 hours without nursing.

9/18/2017--Night #3: We put Ezra down at 7. We went to bed at 11 and left both doors between us and Ezra open. I woke up at 6:55 am to his little chirping squeals.  I mean, unless Kyle and I were both really really zonked out and couldn't hear Ezra crying for some reasons, I think we ALL slept through the night!! I haven't slept more than 4 hours at a time in MONTHS. Hopefully we have turned a corner and this wasn't just a fluke. I am feeling unbelievably grateful today.

Thoughts: I feel like a new woman! I got up and ate breakfast, went to the gym, came home and played with Z happily (not tired/grumpily) for a good while. I feel GREAT. 

9/22/2017--Ezra has slept through the night this whole week! *chorus of angels.* He has done so so well. We moved our bed back to our room on Monday night. We still swaddle during naps, but he goes un-swaddled at bed (you think it would be the opposite?) He has been waking up for the past few days at like 6/630 and wanting to eat, but also still being pretty sleepy. For example, he got up at 6:40 this morning and I got him out of his crib and brought him to our bed. I nursed him in bed and then he was just laying there cuddling and kicking his legs. Since it is 7 am, and I'm pretty much awake, I think "I'll take him out to the living room and let Kyle sleep a little bit." (Since Kyle is the one who wakes up with him everrrrrry morning) So I take him out to the living room and by 7:30 he is asleep on his play mat. I pick him up, he's awake now, and I go back to the bed and lay down cuddling with him. He's just snuggling and pulling at my hair, but clearly not going to go to sleep with me there. At this point, for some reason, I am like overcome with a wave of sleepiness. So, I leave him in the bed with sleeping Kyle and go out to the couch so catch a few more z's, Five minutes later I can hear him squealing, which means I can't sleep, and I go in, flop on the bed, and grumpily say "UGHHHH Just put him on the ground to play or something if he's awake!!" Kyle, responding to my out-of-nowhere-attitude says "I just woke up babe, but I will." to which I lament "I'm just so tired, why do babies make so much noise!?" I'm charming in the morning, if you can't tell. Kyle, graceful as ever, tells me to go back out to the couch and get some more sleep. I inform him that Ezra will be ready for a nap at 8:30 if he doesn't fall asleep before that and march to the living room. Kyle comes out to the living room and wakes me up at 9:30. Ezra went to sleep at 8:30 and slept until a little after 10. The point of my story is: He is sleeping through the night! YAYYYY! Now, we need to figure out mornings.....

Thoughts: I'm so grateful he is sleeping! Kyle and I are both learning though that our bodies are like "Ohhhhh, right, sleep, I remember this" and while we have gotten more sleep at night this week than in the last like 3 months combined, we are even more tired. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Seven Months

-whines/whimpers with his mouth closed (new trick this month)
-naps great
-wakes up every 4-6 hours on a typical night
-eating all the food
-rolls over proficiently from tummy to back
-has pushed up onto hands and knees a handful of times
-had/has a viral infection (Roseola) poor rashy baby :((
-dive bombs my chest now when hungry and just nuzzles his face against me until I feed him
-loves making noises by banging him arms/hands against toys and various surfaces
-proficient wiggler
-started sitting in the shopping cart
-Obsessed with bath drain/bath plug
-loves snuggling with his blanket
-the pacifier is his one true love
-recognizes his name 

We're having a hard time with nighttime sleep. He wakes up at least twice a night to eat. Usually he goes back to sleep easily and well. But, I am still nursing him when he wakes up. I just don't know what to do to help him sleep better. I am unwilling at this point to completely stop nursing him, because WE need to sleep. He's in our room. If we let him just wail until he falls back asleep, we won't sleep at all. I seriously need at least two, two hour stretches of sleep for my personal sanity (I'm talking just borderline being able to function as a human being) and I won't sleep if I can hear him making any noise. So, that isn't an option. BUT THERE ARE NO OTHER OPTIONS. *crying emoji* What are we supposed to do to help him?? We are seriously at a loss....I keep thinking "One day, he will be 14 and won't want to get up for seminary and i'll miss this" but right now I need to know what I mean? 

In other news, he is eating great. We will probably start doing more this month, but right now we do one main 'meal' a day. He eats everything well. I typically have some baby-type foods for him each meal (cheerios, pureed veggies/fruits, yogurt melts) but also make sure he has bites of just whatever we are eating for dinner (tomato soup, mashed potatoes, ground turkey, bits of chicken, asparagus, hummus, etc.) He will eat whatever we give him right now with very minimal gagging. In fact, when we first gave him a cheerio, which was his first really solid thing, I was amazed by how immediately he started to chew. There was no chewing learning curve for this one. He hasn't figured out, however, how to bring the foods to him own mouth. He will pick the food up, but won't bring it to his mouth to eat. So, right now, we are doing all the feeding. He just opens his mouth up like a well trained baby bird.

This one is actually from right before he turned 6 months, but too cute not to include. 

This is Omar; our friend from Djibouti, Africa. He speaks french, arabic, somali, and english. He is the most wonderful, kind soul--so full of light!! He only refers to Ezra as "My Ezra" but with his beautiful french accent, of course. He would've held him the whole day. He just bounced him around and sang him songs in Arabic. Ezra loves him. We met Omar two years ago and I have tried to be more like him ever since, but I don't think I can be! He is TRULY one of a kind.  

If this isn't exactly what church is about; what is it about? Hopefully no one scolds me for talking a picture during sacrament meeting, but I needed to memorialize this moment.

A rather cheery-o babe. Also, my new favorite picture. 

Window gazing, a favorite hobby

Friday, September 8, 2017


On Labor Day I really wanted to go to the NY State Fair. That just seemed like a once in a lifetime experience, ya know? Both Kyle and I were disappointed when our plans didn't work out. In order to encourage ourselves so we didn't wallow in the pity of our missed plans, we decide to a-d-v-e-n-t-u-r-e! 

Last week when I was on a walk with Ezra I noticed this little lighthouse in Cayuga Lake. I had never noticed it before. There was a small stretch of land leading to the lighthouse, but I could not figure out where it came from! I told Kyle about it and we decided to use our Labor Day in pursuit of it. WE discovered that we had to walk across a gold course, and then hike through this hidden trail that was behind this industrial storage box thing. The trail had forest on one side and the lake on the other. We finally made it to the end of the trail and there was a wobbly rock path through shallow water leading to a concrete wall type structure. We climbed up and walked along the narrow concrete wall until  we made it to the little white lighthouse. It was beautiful!